Reagan Has Staples Taken Out, Eats First Solid Food

From Times Wire Services

President Reagan, five days into his recuperation from cancer surgery, had the staples binding his abdominal incision replaced with adhesive strips today and was put on a diet that included his first solid food in eight days: baked chicken and rice.

Continuing the upbeat reports on Reagan's health, presidential spokesman Larry Speakes said also that the President has been taken off antibiotics and is receiving no medication.

The resumption of solid foods indicates that Reagan's digestive process, which was interrupted by the surgery, is returning to normal.

Speakes reported that staples binding Reagan's incision were replaced today with Steri-Strips, an adhesive material.

White House Irritated

As Reagan's doctors reported steady progress, the White House was clearly irritated about what it regards as ill-founded second-guessing by some experts about his care.

In a testy session with reporters asking about Reagan's care, Speakes asserted, "At the moment, there are no questions pending about the President's recovery."

He said members of Reagan's medical team, after answering reporters' questions in two sessions, will not discuss the case further except in briefings conducted by the White House.

Criticizing opinions offered by doctors not connected with the case, Speakes said, "They do not have the detail" of information available to Reagan's doctors.

1984 Discovery Cited

Speakes said, "We're not talking and answering . . . every doctor out in the country that might presume to throw something up on this."

In the second-guessing that followed last weekend's surgery, some medical experts have suggested that the discovery of a small, benign colon polyp in May, 1984, should have prompted a full colonoscopy, which in turn would have disclosed the larger growth --possibly at an earlier, less dangerous stage of cancer.

But Speakes said Reagan's doctors did not recommend a thorough intestinal examination at that time because the initial polyp was of a non-cancerous type and because stool sample tests showed no sign of blood.

The colonoscopy conducted last week was recommended as "good, aggressive medicine" after discovery of a second polyp in March but not "with any urgency," he said.

However, Dr. Walter Karney, who coordinated Reagan's annual physical exams in both 1984 and this year, told the New York Times that the colonoscopy had been "strongly urged" after the March examination.

Won't Release Report

Asked whether Reagan was unhappy about his medical care or the advice he received last year, Speakes said, "No, he is not."

Speakes continued to refuse to release the pathologists' report that showed that Reagan's tumor was malignant.

Speakes pronounced Reagan "totally back to normal" and said "the proof is that he recited 'The Cremation of Sam Magee' and 'The Shooting of Dan McGrew' in their entirety" for the nurses assigned to his suite.

Both poems are longtime Reagan favorites. Speakes said the nurses "followed him line for line, page for page, and he did it flawlessly."

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